By Matt Merola
Bioinformatics. A term I heard probably once throughout my high school life, and a field I never imagined I would have to know about until my late years of college. Little did I realize that halfway through my first year of college – I would be analyzing and BLASTing genome sequences.
It amazes me how all of this works. There I was in class, staring at a window that contained solely the letters A,T,C,G and could scroll down for seemingly hours. Somehow, I was looking at what made up the organism we were just playing with and learning about a few months prior.
How was my laptop, which the most advanced thing I had done on it up until this semester was make a power point presentation, able to display the genome of not only this bacteriophage, but an immense database of other phages as well. It absolutely amazes me how this all came about. I never realized just how advanced our society has become.
However, perhaps the most awe-inspiring thing in recent weeks to me was the virtual box. I haven’t loaded Microsoft XP since middle school, and now here I am years later, living on my own in a city hours away from where I grew up, on that same exact operating system inside of another operating system so that I could view the sequencing of a bacteriophage. Does that not amaze anyone else?
This course has truly blown my mind and it has been an honor being a part of it.
My only question is – why not dig deeper? Go inside an operating system inside an operating system inside…wait for it..another operating system. Why may you ask that we do this? There’s literally no need to do this you say? Well yes – but if director Christopher Nolan also completely ignored those questions and still made a hefty profit on his movie…we could at least give it a shot.